Well, that settles Miami’s closer situation!
One of Major League Baseball’s most accomplished active relievers is coming to Miami. As first reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Marlins are acquiring right-hander David Robertson from the New York Mets in exchange for two young prospects, INF Marco Vargas and C Ronald Hernández. Joel Sherman of the New York Post confirms that the Marlins are eating all of the money still owed to the pending free agent through season’s end (approx. $3.7M). The deal is now official.
Robertson had been the Mets’ main closer this season. He has accumulated 171 saves over parts of 15 MLB seasons with a 2.84 ERA and 2.96 FIP along the way. Even at 38 years old, his 27.9% strikeout rate ranks in the 78th percentile among all pitchers—that is significantly better than any of the Marlins’ other right-handed relievers. With A.J. Puk struggling throughout the month of July, Robertson figures to supplant him in the ninth-inning role.
Robertson’s pitch mix consists of a cutter, curveball and slider. His cutter is averaging 93.2 miles per hour in 2023, the highest velocity he’s had for that pitch since 2011. And despite being only 5’11”, he gets terrific extension off the mound, so his velo plays up.
This week, the Marlins traded Dylan Floro to the Minnesota Twins and lost Matt Barnes to season-ending hip surgery. They had been the members of Miami’s bullpen with the most extensive playoff experience. However, Robertson has gotten more October reps than both of them combined (2.78 ERA in 45.1 IP across eight different years).
In a microscopic sample, Robertson has dominated during his previous appearances at LoanDepot Park (7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K with 4 SV). The Marlins will be the seventh MLB team that he has played for.
Vargas ranked 15th on our latest Fish On First Top 30 list. Hernández ranked 18th. Both have excelled in the Florida Complex League this season, drawing more walks than strikeouts, knocking on the door for a promotion to full-season ball.
The Marlins had a full 40-man roster prior to this move. The club announced that Matt Barnes has been transferred to the 60-day IL to make room for Robertson. My educated guess is that Bryan Hoeing will be optioned to Triple-A Jacksonville to get Robertson onto the active roster prior to Friday’s game (the Marlins haven’t used Hoeing since July 19).
As soon as Monday, the Marlins should be getting left-hander Andrew Nardi (triceps inflammation) back from the injured list. Huascar Brazoban and George Soriano are the most likely candidates to be optioned at that point.
Although Miami’s already-weak farm system is taking a hit here, there is still ample pitching to use as chips to make additional upgrades prior to Tuesday’s trade deadline.
This is the third time in as many years that these NL East rivals have linked up to complete a trade. In February 2021, they exchanged Jordan Yamamoto for then-prospect Federico Polanco (those players have since retired and been released, respectively). Then last November, the Marlins sent fringy big leaguers Elieser Hernández and Jeff Brigham to NY for prospects Jake Mangum (currently playing for Triple-A Jacksonville) and Franklin Sánchez (High-A Beloit).
Photo courtesy of New York Mets